The Santorum Farewell Speech
Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about why I voted against Dr. Gates and lay out in detail the concerns I have about the security posture of the United States today and how I do not believe that Dr. Gates is the appropriate choice to confront them. While I think he certainly has a lot of positive qualities, and in normal times I would certainly defer to the President’s judgment on this, we are not in normal times. I believe we need a Secretary–and I think we need leaders in this country, particularly the Secretary–who has insight into the nature of our enemy and is willing to provide the vision necessary, not just for our people in the military but the country, on how to defeat them. On one particular vital aspect of that vision I think he is in error, and that error causes me to object and to vote no to his nomination.
What I would like to do is lay out what I see as the problem confronting America and the complexity of that problem, which I think has grown more complex since the last time that we have been in this Chamber, over 6 weeks ago. I would like to go back to two speeches I gave last summer, one at the National Press Club, and the other at the Pennsylvania Press Club–one obviously in Washington, the other in Harrisburg. I gave those speeches because I thought it was important that at a time when our country is at war and our country is struggling with this war that we have a better definition as to who the enemy is and what we need to do about it. I made that issue, the issue I discussed in these two speeches and subsequent speeches during my campaign, the centerpiece of the campaign. Many political advisers suggested to me that this was a wrong tactic in a State where the favorabilities for the war and the President were in the low thirties to make this the centerpiece and, in fact, draw divisions between myself and the President where I put myself in a position which some suggested was to the right of the President. But I thought it was important for the country and for me personally as a U.S. Senator to address the issues that I thought were critical to the time.
So I went out and gave two speeches about the importance of defining our enemy. If there has been a failing–obviously, for the last several weeks and months we have been talking about the failings of the administration with respect to the policies within Iraq–I would make the argument that the larger failing, not just of the administration but of the Members of Congress and leaders in this country, is that we have not had the courage to stand up and define the enemy as to who they are and study and understand them and explain to the American people who they are.
I defined the enemy back at the National Press Club speeches as Islamic fascism. I said that is the biggest issue of our time, this relentless and determined radical enemy that is not just a group of rag-tag people living in caves but, in fact, people with an ideology, a plan, and increasingly the resources to carry out that plan, as well as, increasingly, a bigger and larger presence throughout the Islamic world, these radical Islamic fascists.
As I said, I understand this is an unpopular war. When I stepped forward to define the enemy as radical Islamic fascists, I was ridiculed by the media and others, saying that my words were too harsh, saying that at worst my defining the enemy was incorrect, at best it was inflammatory. But I did so because I believe words matter. If you are going to confront an enemy you have to understand who that enemy is and you have to communicate that to the people of America. And we must do that.
Many people talk about this war as if it is an attempt simply to create fledgling democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. While this may be an appealing possible outcome, we all must recognize that Iraq and Afghanistan are battlefields in a much more complex and broader war. That includes every continent with the exception of Antarctica. The war is at our doorstep, and it is fueled, as I mentioned, literally and figuratively by the evil of Islamic fascism.
Whether we know it or not, they have been at war with us, and the State of Iran specifically has been at war with us, since 1979 when they declared war against the United States. They have not rescinded that declaration. So when we talk about engaging Iran as the Secretary, the new, future Secretary of Defense has talked about, we are talking about engaging someone who is at war with us, who has declared war with us, and who has been at war and, and as I will talk about here, and I think it has been widely reported in the press, has been doing a lot to substantiate the claim that they have been at war with us.
But this threat is not exclusively based in Iran. It is gaining strength and spreading throughout every region of the world. I have addressed the issue of Islamic fascism but have not yet spoken to the subject of Iraq. Iraq is the central front in the war on Islamic fascism. However, contrary to the Iraqi Study Group, the Baker-Hamilton commission, the answer to this problem can be found–the answer to Iraq can be found not in Iraq but in Iran. It is Iran and its client State of Syria that serve as the principal instigators and fomenters of the conflict in Iraq today.
The President gets advice from the CIA that the opposition in Iran is weak and divided and therefore we should do nothing in Iran because we have no alternative. We have no one we can use in Iraq to confront the Iranian Government to cause any kind of changes. So the President gets advice from his intelligence team that we are without options in Iran.
The Pentagon advises the President and says we don’t know if we have the resources to open up a new battlefield or confront, militarily, Iran, and therefore we have limited options in Iran.
The State Department–yes, State Department–they think that Iran is the solution to the problem; that negotiating with them and getting them to be our pals can in effect solve the problems; so confronting Iran would be the absolutely wrong thing to do in solving the problem in Iraq.
So the President is being advised by all of his minions that Iran and confrontation with Iran is not an option, as we heard from the testimony of the new Secretary of Defense.
Let’s look at other interested parties as we look at how we solve the problem in Iraq and dealing with Iran. The American media seems to be very focused and spends a lot of time talking about how poorly things are going in Iraq. They report daily–not just recently but repeatedly for the past 3 years, daily–the body count in Iraq. It is the lead and has been virtually every single day for 3 years.
Is their interest in shifting focus and covering the problems in Iran? Not if we can drive home a story like this in Iraq.
Republicans and Democrats, leaders in the Congress, why don’t they focus and talk more about Iran? Democrats, if you look through–as unfortunately many Republicans and Democrats do–look at it through the eyes of politics, why would we change focus and focus on Iran as the problem? We saw from the last election there is grand political advantage of keeping the focus on Iraq and the problems in Iraq. Why aren’t the Republicans, then, stepping forward and pointing to the difficulty and problems that Iran is causing in Iraq and call for confrontation? If we saw anything from the last election, the American public has no appetite for a broadening of this war, increasing the complexity of this war. You might be seen as warmongering, digging us deeper and more dangerously into a region of the world that we would rather not be in in the first place.
So what do we have? We have the Baker-Hamilton report which is a prescription for surrender. It is just a matter of time. It is certainly not a prescription for victory. Nowhere does it mention, other than of course that we would like victory, nor is there a prescription for victory in that report.
So now we have the slow process of how we exit ourselves because we have no option to confront the real problem. We have no willingness on the part of any level of Government to confront it. So we are destined at this point to focus on something that is insolvable without confronting Iran, and that is the war in Iraq.
Who are these Iranians? Who are these Islamic fascists? I do not mean to exclude Sunni Islamic fascists because they were the principal–or they were the first, let’s put it that way–in launching the war against the United States. I should not say the first. They were the first in recent times–certainly 9/11–in launching the war.
So this is not just a Shia problem, but it is increasingly becoming a Shia-dominated field as they continue to spread control in Iran with their influence and money. But let’s not leave out Saudi Arabia and others that have used their resources to foment Islamic fascism all over the world with their resources–Sunni Islamic fascism.
So where are we? What can we do to confront this problem?
The interesting thing is that this problem is growing–I don’t know about exponentially, but I don’t know of a single country in the Middle East where the threat of radical Islam has not grown over the last 30 years, since Iran took over control–since the radicals took over control in Iran, the last 27 years. Every capital, every regime is feeling the pressure. And not just since 2003, but systematically over the years we have seen, particularly in Arab Muslim countries and Middle Eastern Muslim countries, this rise. But, again, not exclusive: Indonesia, Malaysia–this is not exclusive to the Arab world. Obviously Iran, which is Persia.
So what have we seen over the past 6 months? We saw a situation in the central synagogue in Prague where the Islamic fascists intended to carry out, on Rosh Hashanah, a mass kidnaping when large numbers of Jews would be celebrating the new year. When the world’s attention now was focused on Prague, they designed to make impossible demands and then blow up the synagogue and everyone within it. Those people were not marked for death because they supported the war in Iraq. They were not marked for death because they oppressed these Islamic fascists. They were targeted because they were Jews. This is evil.
Islamic terrorists organized an assault on civilian aircraft leaving London, planning to blow up 10 or more planes this summer as they flew over the North Atlantic. You may not know that two of those participants were a husband and a wife, a husband and a wife who were going to board that plane and explode that plane over the North Atlantic while holding in their arms their 6-month-old child.
This is evil.
Islamic terrorists slaughter innocent Iraqis every single day on both sides of the divide within Islam. As we know, in recent days they beheaded an orthodox priest and crucified a 14-year-old boy guilty of nothing but being Christian.
This is evil.
Almost everyone has now heard of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the fact that he denies the existence of the Holocaust and called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the Earth. But he has been remarkably clear about his mission, remarkably clear about his messianic vision of a Shiite religion, his vision to destroy the Western world and impose a caliphate on the world in which the world would submit to Islam or die in the process.
Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?
Then he answered himself:
But you had best know this slogan and this goal is attainable and surely can be achieved.
So do we have any questions about the nature of our enemy? Do we have any questions about the capability of this oil-rich country? Yet just this past week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent an open letter, a conciliatory letter, to the American people, addressed to the “noble” American people. He called on America to withdraw from Iraq and end support for Israel, and, of course, to convert to Islam. This man may be a fanatic, but let me assure you he is not a stupid fanatic. This man understands and studies America. The Islamic fascists respect us enough to get to know us. They respect us enough so they know what buttons to push and how hard to push them. They respect us enough to figure out what it will take to defeat us.
I wish that were the case for the American people.
He couched his warning in the words that are familiar and comfortable with Americans–“freedom,” trying to appeal that he would be free of this illegitimate regime in his mind, which is the current administration, and we would free them of this burden of fighting. It is a great appeal and many would like to see the end of this war, but we should not be fooled.
Our troops in Iraq are being killed by Iranian weapons today paid for with Iranian money smuggled into Iraq by Iranian logistics and utilized by Iranian-trained terrorists.
A couple of years ago you needed a security clearance to know this. Now, if you care to know, if you want to know this uncomfortable truth about Iran, you can know it. Iran is the centerpiece in the assault against us and other countries in the civilized world, which is why I fought so hard for passage of the Iran Freedom and Support Act.
I stood on the Senate floor at this very desk and argued in May or June of this year for passage of the Iran Freedom and Support Act. I said we should not be negotiating with Iran, that we should be confronting Iran.
Bernard Lewis tells a familiar opinion that he has. He tells a lot of them. He said that the oddity in particular of the Arab and Middle Eastern Islamic world is that the more we have strong relations with the government in an Arab Muslim country the more the people of that country hate us; and the more that we stand up and confront leadership of those countries the more the people like us. Is it no wonder he recounts on the day of 9/11 when there was but one Middle Eastern Muslim capital there was a candlelight vigil in support of those who died on 9/11, and that was in Tehran, Iran.
It is not hard to understand when you have regimes throughout the Middle East who oppress their people that when you stand up and confront those regimes and call them the evil they are the people understand and respect your honesty, agree with you, and support you.
This summer when we attempted to negotiate with Iran, we told the people of Iran that we are not on their side, that we want to make deals with people who oppress them, who torture them, who enslave them, who abuse them, and who kill them. That is why we should not have entered into any negotiations in spite of the entreaties of Europe with this evil regime in Iran. We should confront them, and only confront them. If we want the support of the people of Iran, we have to earn it with the integrity of our mission, and we are not doing that.
So I stood up on the floor of the Senate and said we needed to confront Iran, that we needed to fund full democracy groups, that we needed to use the public airwaves and the Internet to disseminate information to cause a change in the Government of Iran, and that we needed to sanction them. And this administration opposed me. The Senate opposed me by, I think, a 54-to-46 vote. That is why I continue to work on the Iran Freedom and Support Act.
Over the intervening months, what happened? Iran did as I predicted on this floor back in the spring–they played us along. They said: Well, you know we will negotiate with you as long as we can continue to produce nuclear materials and continue our nuclear program. So we negotiated and we negotiated and they developed and they developed. So finally in September of this year, enough people on both sides of the aisle and enough people in the administration finally were convinced that this was not a viable strategy anymore. What did we gain? We passed the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which probably surprised most people in this Chamber. We passed it unanimously–one of the last things we did before we broke. Most Americans don’t know it. Unfortunately, most in the Middle East don’t know it. I suspect if we went into the bowels of the State Department they may know it, but they are not going to do a damned thing about it because that is not their intent. They do not want to do anything about it. My guess is they will take that money and spend it on a lot of conferences and studies on what we should do instead of giving it to the bus drivers who went on strike as a strike fund so they can stand up to the government. Instead of giving it to dissent groups so they can disseminate information, instead of actively engaging we will appease. We will study, we will delay, and they will have time to further build.
But we did pass the bill. That would be on one of my to-do lists in the next Congress.
Is this bill going to be enforced? Are we going to confront Iran? Are we going to try to do something or are we going to sit by and allow them to develop these weapons? They are not developing them alone. No, there are a lot of reports that they are working with others around the world. Who are those others? I talk about Islamic fascism, and I keep focusing on that. But, unfortunately, over the past several months it is increasingly clear to me that the situation is becoming even more complex. We are not just facing a group of people who are in the Middle East desiring to overthrow the world and oppose a caliphate on us, but they have allies–unlikely allies in some respects, unlikely allies as the German Nazis and Japanese imperialists who had very conflicting ideologies but had a common purpose, and that was destroy the West, destroy the English-speaking world and the Western world, and put it under the domination of those countries.
So it is today. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. What Iran has found and the Islamic fascists have found is there are plenty of enemies of the United States. In fact, they had a meeting just this year a couple of months ago in Havana, Cuba. The nonaligned states met. There were 100 nations. On their agenda was to redefine the word “terror” to include “the U.S. occupation of Iraq” and the “Israeli invasion” of Lebanon. Of course, there was no mention about the incursion of Hezbollah. They found solace with these countries. We saw it played out at the United Nations just a couple of weeks later where President Ahmadinejad, President Hugo Chavez, to thunderous applause of many in the United Nations community, demonized America. But another member of that crew of nonaligned nations was North Korea.
I mentioned before that Iran is pursuing a nuclear program. They are indeed pursuing a nuclear program, and there have been many intelligence reports published that have suggested there were Iranian scientists there the day North Korea exploded their nuclear weapon. In fact, the scientist who had been working with North Korea, AQ Kahn, is the same scientist who has been working with Iran in the development of their nuclear program. Some have suggested that they are working collaboratively and jointly in their development of nuclear weapons which, of course, would have put Iran’s nuclear program well ahead of where everyone believes it to be.
So we have not only the Islamic fascists led by Iran, but we now have an alliance between Iran and North Korea; North Korea, which is a threat in their own right, now with nuclear weapons and their increasing ability to deliver them with long-range missiles, including the development of, as they hope to do, ICBMs which could reach the United States of America.
We confronted North Korea as soon as they detonated their explosives. We had a U.N. resolution confronting them. North Korea condemned that nuclear U.N. resolution and called it “a declaration of war” and threatened the United States by declaring:
We will deliver merciless blows without hesitation to whoever tries to breach our sovereignty and right to survive under the excuse of carrying out a United Nations Security Council resolution.
Not only do we have a threat of North Korea now launching a nuclear weapon, but we have the clear threat of North Korea and Iran proliferating nuclear technology. In addition, as Iran, working with North Korea, develops their nuclear program, and as the world sits fecklessly by and lets them do it, others in the region legitimately have their tensions increased and have talked about the need for those nations to develop nuclear weapons,
Thus starting an arms race in a region of the world where it is the last place we want a nuclear arms race.
Finally, we have the issue of whether this nuclear material that is being developed in both North Korea and Iran will end up in the hands of terrorists, to be delivered in a nonconventional way. North Korea is a new threat on the horizon, but it is not alone. In fact, North Korea has expressed direct support for Iran’s nuclear development program and stressed that the United States and the West have no right to defy such a program.
The Iranians have also commented officially on friendly ties between Tehran and Pyongyang after the Islamic revolution, saying Iran “highly praises North Korea for its steadfastness against the domineering policies of the United States.”
But the threat goes even further. Ahmadinejad, with Kim Jong Il, like Mussolini and Hitler, intends to conquer Western civilization. Again, that is not Hitler. But they also, like the Soviets under Nikita Khrushchev, see the advantage of placing weapons of mass destruction within short ranges of the United States.
Obviously, one likely candidate would be Venezuela. I don’t know of any regime currently that is more vehement and more anti-American than Hugo Chavez and the regime in Venezuela, so it probably comes as no surprise that Ahmadinejad and Chavez have had meetings, and they are now aligned and allies and working together and have, in fact, formed a defense pact between the two countries.
Venezuela is a serious threat not just because of their relationship within Iran but because of what it has attempted to do throughout the region, as well as its own potential threat.
Just a few weeks ago there was an election in Nicaragua, right before our election, where Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega won the election, took a congratulatory call from Hugo Chavez, who said:
We’re happy here. We’re very proud of you.
Now, like never before, the Sandinista revolution and the Bolivarian revolution unite, to construct the future, socialism of the 21st century.
Chavez made no secret about his support for Ortega or his support for the new rulers in Bolivia. Chavez is doing all he can to build military power and might and influence in the region of the world that is uncomfortably close to the United States.
As we know, Chavez has been clear about his disdain for America. What we don’t know is what Venezuela has been up to. I suspect that most Members of this Senate do not know that Venezuela is the leading buyer of foreign arms and military equipment in the world today, that Chavez is building an army of more than 1 million soldiers. I suspect most in this Senate do not know that over the next year he plans to spend $30 billion to build 20 military bases in neighboring Bolivia which will dominate the borders of Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, assembling those military bases on the borders of the countries I just mentioned. These military bases, while they will be manned by Bolivian soldiers, will be commanded by Venezuelan and Cuban officers.
How does he do this? How is he able to accomplish what Fidel Castro has been seeking to accomplish now for 4 1/2 decades? The answer to that, of course, is very simple. It is a three-letter word: oil. Oil and its huge profits are financing this, just like oil and its huge profits are advancing Islamic fascism in the Middle East. It is no wonder again that Venezuela and Iran have formed an oil pact. Why? As they have clearly said before, oil is a “geopolitical weapon,” according to Chavez. He also said:
I could easily order the closing of the refineries we have in the United States. I could easily sell that oil that we sell to the United States to other countries of the world ….. to real friends and allies like China.
They have even closer relationships with the Islamic fascists in Iran. A recent congressional report found that Hezbollah may right now have established bases in Venezuela which have issued thousands of visas to people from places such as Cuba and the Middle East, possibly giving them passports to a vague United States border security.
To make matters worse, we see, with the help of Venezuela, Cuba and China are now exploring for oil within 50 miles of the coast of the United States, while the Senate blocks a measure to allow us to explore for oil within 100 miles of our own shore. So while China, Cuba, and Venezuela draw oil from our shores, we stand idly by and let them do it to arm against us.
Let’s not overlook the role of Russia in working with all of these governments–Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. Last summer, Russia signed an arms deal with Venezuela to the tune of $1 billion. Last month, Russia began deliveries to Iran of highly sophisticated SA-15 anti-aircraft missiles valued at $700 million. The purpose of these missiles? To defend Iran’s nuclear program. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Russia has consistently
opposed the efforts of the United States to sanction the other enemy, North Korea, for their nuclear programs, and has insisted on diluting the effects of every resolution that was passed condemning North Korea. The Russians claim sanctions don’t work. Yet, oddly enough, they just imposed sanctions on their neighbor, Georgia.
Yes, we live in a very complex time and we have enemies who are very dangerous, in which their relationships are growing, and so with it their commensurate power to confront terrorists of the world, and the rest of the world sits and hopes and hopes that we can negotiate our way out of this problem; that since we are people of reason and rational folks, we can deal with them on that level. Have we forgotten our history? We have been in this situation before.
I have titled this address “The Gathering Storm of the 21st Century.” It is not a coincidence that I do so in harkening to the book written by Winston Churchill, “The Gathering Storm,” talking about the lead-up to World War II. Just like Britain in 1940, after the fall of France, we are engaged with a struggle now with the enemy–alone. Just like Britain in 1940, we entreated the rest of the world to join us against this evil, and the world fell silent. For a year and a half until Pearl Harbor, and actually long after that, since the United States was certainly not prepared for war, Britain fought this battle alone. And with the exception of the State of Israel, we are fighting this battle alone, and I suspect we will for quite some time. So what lesson can we learn? What lesson can we learn from history? What we know is America is very reticent to get involved in wars, and rightfully so. In the First World War, we only entered after a German U-boat sank American civilian and commercial ships in the North Atlantic. World War I was the war to end all wars. After the defeat of the German armies, it seemed as if peace was going to be with us for a long time. But it did not last a generation. As I said, we ended up with the situation in World War II. But even after the fall of Europe to the Nazis and the Italian fascists, America stood by, hoping this problem would go away. It was not until Pearl Harbor that things changed.
The Cold War was only after Stalin’s aggression in the Middle East in Greece that we decided to engage and recognize that the Soviet Union was not our friend as many thought after World War II but, in fact, our new foe. And now, after the fall of the Soviet Union we thought we would have a peace dividend, peace for a long time, and we find that other forces of evil have cropped up to confront us.
If it were not for the fact of September 11, we would be allowing that to continue today. But we engaged the enemy because they attacked us directly here at home. But now we are growing tired. We are wearying of the battle. I said earlier that these Islamic fascists understand us better than we understand them. They understand our history better than we understand their history. They need not look long to see how quickly America tires of confrontation and conflict and death.
And so they plan and, more importantly, they kill, every day. It is recorded here every day, and support for this war goes down every day. And they check another box in Tehran.
Winston Churchill wrote in “The Gathering Storm” a short description of the gathering storm:
How the English-speaking peoples, through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature allowed the wicked to rearm.
We are at such a moment. Are we going to allow the wicked to rearm? We paid a terrible price for waiting. We lock at each war, each major conflict, we paid a terrible price for waiting. In many cases, it was a price paid in America. In many other cases it was a price paid in countries around the world. Are we going to pay that price at some day in the future or are we going to confront this enemy?
If we learned anything from the 20th century, it should be this lesson: When leaders say they are prepared to kill millions of people to achieve their goal, we must take them at their word. The enemy before us that I have described has said it clearly, repeatedly, and pointedly, and even more threateningly, because this is an enemy who doesn’t see death as a tragic consequence of the war; they see it as their objective of war.
The ayatollah and the mullahs of Iran have repeatedly said that the object of jihad is not success, it is death. It is reaching the next level. It is ending this miserable life which we have on Earth and in pursuit of jihad, guaranteeing yourself eternal life with Allah.
Here in America, we refuse to recognize, many, that we are at war with this great evil.
We shrink from the recognition of identifying the enemy and confronting them, whether they be the Islamic fascists led by Iran or the socialist rulers of North Korea and Venezuela. We are sleep-walking through the storm, as we have done in the past. We pretend it is not happening or that it is simply because of the incompetency of the current administration or of a member of that administration.
But how do those who deny this evil propose to save us from these people? By negotiating through the U.N. or directly with Iran? By firing Don Rumsfeld, now getting rid of John Bolton? That is going to solve the problem? These people are now going to be nice to us because we removed these people who were agitating them or causing problems? Maybe relocating our troops to Okinawa or Kuwait or some other place will get these people to simply leave us alone? Maybe if we just abandon Iraq and Afghanistan to the chaos and slaughter of Islamic fascists, their thirst for blood will be met? Or maybe it is just engaging in one-on-one discussions with Iran and North Korea and other reasonable dictators?
No, I do not think any of those things will work. And history has proved they have not worked. We need to begin to confront our enemies. And that does not mean we have to launch a military mission into the countries I spoke of. But we have to do more than just adjust tactics in Iraq. If the focus of the next year and a half is simply adjusting tactics within Iraq, it will fail. It will fail. We must go after the regimes that recruit, pay, train, and arm their surrogate militias in Iraq. Again, I am not talking about military confrontation; I am talking about political and economic warfare to bring down the terror regimes in Tehran and their satellite puppet state in Syria. The best way to do that is to work with their own people who want freedom.
I talked about the Iran Freedom and Support Act, but there is much more we need to do. We need to implement it. And we need to use the public diplomacy apparatus we have to motivate and change the hearts and minds. A free Iran will change the world because it will deprive the terrorists of the single greatest source of support and isolate the likes of Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-il.
Why is a free Iran and a free Iraq so essential? Because neither the United States of America nor any of our Western allies can defeat radical Islamic fascism on our own. We cannot defeat radical Islamic fascism. The only thing we can do is, through democracy-building and through support of moderate Islam, give those who truly seek the true meaning, the true moderate meaning of Islam the opportunity to be successful in suppressing its radical elements. We have to create that environment, and we have not in Iraq because Iran and Syria have not let us.
I remember reading commentaries from so many people talking about that things went well originally in Iraq. It seems like things were going OK, and then, after a year or so, it really started to turn south. Well, immediately after we were there, the Iranians were scared to death of us and dared not play in that sandbox. But they quickly surmised that we were not serious, that we were not going to confront this evil, so they began what we now see.
We need to counter Hugo Chavez. We need to do more to develop closer relationships with the countries in Central and South America, through trade and through diplomatic negotiations. We must fight for the hearts and minds of Central and South America, and we must do so much more deliberately and aggressively than we have. We have to do more to confront North Korea and its threat. That includes options, particularly missile defense. Finally, we have to confront the root cause of all of this, the root cause being oil.
There is one regret I have of not coming back here. It is–and my colleagues know I can be somewhat single-minded–to focus the attention of this body and this country on energy security. It is lunacy, it is suicidal to continue to allow the energy markets at the levels they are right now given the fact that a vast majority of those energy dollars are going to people who want to kill us and destroy everything we believe in. We can no longer play games with our energy security.
I spent a lot of time talking about this war, and I have fought very hard to pass legislation, both the Syrian Accountability Act and the Iran Freedom and Support Act, that will try to hurt our enemies and strengthen our country. I will do my best, after I leave this place, to continue to confront these enemies and to give the United States the opportunity to succeed in this war.
Osama bin Laden said:
In the final phase of the ongoing struggle, the world of the infidels was divided between two superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union. Now we–
Now we have defeated and destroyed the more difficult and the more dangerous of the two.
Understand what bin Laden is saying. “We,” these Islamic fascists–they claim they defeated the Soviet Union, not Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, not Pope John Paul II, but Islamic fascism, the mujahedin in Afghanistan. History will make a plausible case for this assertion that, in fact, they had a lot to do with defeating the Soviet Union. But he continues with one final sentence:
Dealing with the pampered and effeminate Americans will be easy.
You see, they think they understand us. They think they know how to get to America. Open a paper every day and see what their tactic is. Open a paper every day, turn on a television every day, turn on your radio every day, sign on to the Internet every day and see what their tactic is and see how they believe they will defeat us.
I believe we need strong leadership to confront this greatest enemy that we have. The stakes are high, too high not to join together–Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, American, European–to confront this dangerous enemy. We must stop them.
Winston Churchill, in June of 1940–I will close with this, for my colleagues who have been patiently waiting–Winston Churchill, in 1940, addressed the British people as Britain stood alone:
What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.
Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to do our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”
This is the call of this generation. This is America’s hour. This is the hour that we need leadership, Churchillian leadership, who had a keen eye for the enemy and a resolve in spite of the political climate to confront it. I ask my colleagues to stand and make this America’s finest hour. I regret that the new Secretary of Defense is not up to the task, in my opinion. I hope others are.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.